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Two New Vol Assistants Praised for Recruiting Prowess

All of Tennessee’s new coaching hires this offseason have yet to prove themselves on the field as Vol coaches. But some are already impressing analysts with their skills on the recruiting trail.

Last week we looked at why new Vol offensive line coach Walt Wells was already developing into an ace recruiter for Tennessee. Now ESPN is praising two other assistants for “tearing it up” on the recruiting trail already.

According to Tom VanHaaren, a staff writer for ESPN, both quarterbacks coach Mike Canales and defensive line coach Brady Hoke have impressed him as recruiters for Tennessee thus far.

(The article is on ESPN Insider, so you will need a paid subscription to read the whole piece.)

“Canales brings a wealth of experience as quarterbacks coach for the Vols,” VanHaaren writes. “(Canales) was previously the interim head coach at North Texas after serving as offensive coordinator as well as assistant head coach at Utah State. Canales played a big part in landing ESPN 300 quarterback Adrian Martinez in the 2018 class.”

Canales is one of the most experienced coaches on Tennessee’s coaching staff. Canales has been either an assistant, offensive coordinator, or interim head coach for three decades. But Canales has only coached at a Power Five school for five of those 30 years, so his recruiting ability at an SEC school was in question. Thus far, however, Canales has been solid on the recruiting trail for the Vols. He’s helped land commitments from four-star quarterback Adrian Martinez and three-star quarterback Michael Penix in the 2018 recruiting class.

VanHaaren wasn’t just impressed with Canales, however. New Tennessee defensive line coach Brady Hoke has also stood out on VanHaaren as a recruiter this cycle.

“Hoke’s tenure as head coach at Michigan and defensive coordinator at Oregon didn’t pan out, but Hoke has always been an excellent recruiter,” VanHaaren states. “Now, as the defensive line coach for the Vols, Hoke can focus on the position group and recruiting, and he has already impressed recruits and their families. There are two four-star defensive line commits ranked in this 2018 class thanks to Hoke.”

The two four-star defensive linemen VanHaaren is referring to are D’Andre Litaker out of Riverdale High School in middle Tennessee and Brant Lawless from Nashville Christian School. Hoke is credited as the primary recruiter for both defensive tackles out of the mid-state area. Hoke has been an assistant, defensive coordinator, or head coach at the Power Five level for 18 of his 34 years of coaching at the collegiate level. He’s become known as an elite recruiter throughout the years, especially during his time at Michigan from 1995-2001 and again as head coach from 2011-14.

Tennessee’s new assistant coaches will ultimately be defined by how they and their players perform on the field. But starting out hot on the recruiting trail is always a plus, and both Canales and Hoke have impressed early on in their Tennessee tenures.

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